Property empire falls after collapse of furnishings business follows Imagine Homes takeover

Grant Bovey’s property empire has come to an end.

His furnishings business, Imagine Furnishings, filed for administration at the weekend, a month after he ceded control of his buy-to-let company, Imagine Homes.

Bovey: ‘all our eggs were in one basket’
Bovey: ‘all our eggs were in one basket’

The furnishing company was the property entrepreneur’s last holding in the buy-to-let market after he resigned as a director at Imagine Homes five weeks ago.

The fall of Imagine Furnishings was a direct result of the loss of business from Imagine Homes, to which it exclusively supplied furniture.

Bovey and wife Anthea Turner’s furnishing business, previously called Anthea Turner Home, is now in a moratorium process.

Begbies Traynor, the administrator that has been chosen by Imagine Furnishings, said that its lender, the Royal Bank of Scotland, had five days to decide whether or not to liquidate the company.

Imagine Furnishings employs 15 people and is based in Farnborough.

In 2006 it made a loss of £685,259 on a turnover of £2.6m, and has since been hit by the collapse of the buy-to-let market.

Documents at Companies House show that Anthea Turner also resigned as a director in July, along with co-director Kerry Southern and secretary Neil Barnett.

‘There is nothing wrong with the company or how it was run,’ Bovey told Property Week. ‘It was just that all Imagine Furnishing’s eggs were in one basket. We hope for a sale and are waiting to see what happens.’

‘It is clear that 2009 is going to be a very difficult year for everyone – it would be a very brave man that would predict what is going to happen to any property company.’

His departure in October from Imagine Homes, formerly the largest buy-to-let property company in the UK, came after Bank of Scotland Corporate took complete control of Imagine Homes.

The bank, which was the principle lender and a joint owner of a 22% stake in the business, carried out a debt-for-equity swap with Bovey, who owned 65%.

It is thought the bank will carry the company forward and honour all existing contracts, but is unlikely to acquire any further property.

A holding company called Imagine Homes UK has been set up to sell off the remaining assets.

A spokesman for HBOS, said: ‘We remain supportive of Imagine Homes as a funder and an investor. Lots of property companies are suffering at the moment and Imagine is no different.’

Imagine Homes is now being run by Colin Rutherford, its chairman, and director Stewart McIntyre.

Both Rutherford and McIntyre joined Imagine in September 2007 following a £37.5m debt and equity investment by HBOS.